{Follow along!}

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Hello friends!

 

With the arrival of the sun and with it the warmer weather of spring I am not often on my computer.  Thus, posting seems to all but disappear sometimes.  However, if you want to follow along on our adventures on the farm or our travel to wonderful places around the globe, you can easily to so on Instagram! http://instagram.com/kimberlytaylorimages  It’s quick and easy, not to mention visual- of which I am totally in love with.

 

Happy Tuesday!

x

 

{growing things}

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First of all, thank you so very much for your kind and thoughtful comments on my last post.  I don’t tend to want to get personal in a negative way on this site as it is meant to be a happy inspiring place.  However, when I do, you are such an amazing supportive and caring group and for that I am so grateful.

 

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So, aside from getting teary lately  :)  I have been really enjoying planting indoor plants.  I used to have quite a few of them but then my focus became the gardens and growing things outdoors, and I found that the indoor plants took too much of my time and focus- making sure they were all properly cared for.  However, this second half of winter I have been really looking forward to spring.  There is something comforting and earthy about having plants growing indoors.  Add to that the fact that the nurseries have so many gorgeous and fun things to choose from- and I have become a bit obsessed…

 

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One thing my Grampy used to grow when I was younger were Tillies.  Tillandsia is a species of plant from the family Bromeliaceae which grow naturally in forests, deserts and mountains of Central and South America. They require no soil- just a good watering, either mist or submersion depending on the plant- and a nice place to sit.  They are so fun to buy as there is a wide range of looks and colors.  I have been making clay Tilly holders that I will be listing the next time I open the shop.  Check your local nurseries as I am guessing you will find some there~

 

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I am also enjoying putting little terrariums together.  I have wanted to do a workshop forever as I think they are so fun to mix up and make little scenes in them.  That is on my spring agenda- as wouldn’t it be fun to clear off our large farmhouse table and cover it will all sorts of plants, soil, rocks, sand and glass vessels and have a terrarium party?

 

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{mexico} and going forward

 

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Hello friends,

 

I feel like I have neglected this little place in my life lately.  So many things going on, life getting in the way, travel, projects.  I love it here and it usually isn’t until I return that I realize how much I have missed it.  It is the place I come to share the parts of my life that give me joy, or inspiration, or to share things I think you too will appreciate.  I try to keep it rather light- except for the times when I need you to really understand the weight that your support can carry; the lives you can help change.  I don’t tend to do a lot of “venting” here, or divulging of private information- I feel like we all have enough of that in our “local” lives that we don’t need more drama coming from me.  But I want to share something that I experienced a couple of weeks ago, and it may get a bit personal.  There are no recipes, or inspiration in this post- only me, and some of the parts may not be all that pretty.  Proceed with caution…

 

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Last month #4 and I took a trip to Mexico to visit my brother and his wife.  This brother, who is 3 1/2 years younger than I am, is the one I grew up with.  He is the one that I knew from the moment that he was born, the one who’s hand I held and rubbed the back of when he was a toddler as it was so soft.  It is strange, the things you remember the clearest.  We argued – a lot – as children, but I don’t think I thought about it a lot growing up.  What I do remember about our childhood is that I was “in charge” of him a lot when we were young.   It was a time (the 70s) when kids came home from school alone and no one worried.  A time when, come summer, we left the house in the morning to play in the neighborhood and didn’t return home until after a game of kick-the-can long after sunset.  It was a different time.  But what I remember about us- about my brother and I – was that because I was responsible for him I bossed him around.  A lot.  And I’m sure, as anyone would, he hated it.  I won’t go into the whys or the whats of our childhood- suffice it to say that there are many things I had conveniently “forgotten” about that time.  I know now that it was a survival tactic- but back then, it was just survival.

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When I was 16 and my brother was 12 my mother moved back to Canada from the states.  It was a sudden decision and one that we had no say in.  As I was going into my junior year of high school I decided that I would not move to Canada with her.  My brother, however, went.  And that was the end of my life living with a little brother, the only brother I had ever known.  (right now I am struggling for words to put here,  because of all that I have been re-processing over the past two weeks, it has again suddenly hit me at how insane, how wrong and completely fucked up that is- being torn away from your little brother)  I went to live with my dad, and continued on with school.  It was a messed up time.  I was an hormonal pissy teenage girl who was so angry that her mother had abandoned her, and I’m pretty sure I made life hell for my dad and step-mom.  God bless them for not kicking me out over the two years that I was there.

 

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For whatever reason, (and a clear sign of how messed up I was at the time) when I graduated school I decided it was a good idea for me to move to Canada to live with my mom rather than going to college.  Two things- 1. I was all kinds of messed up at that point.  I can’t accurately and fully convey the disaster that was my mental state in any way that will make you understand what a hot mess I was.  and, 2. I don’t for one minute regret that decision, as through it I gained two incredible boys and, most likely two more little ones years later.  So, off I went to Canada to start anew.  I moved in with my mom, her boyfriend and my little brother where I stayed for – well, again, I have blocked much of that time so I can’t really tell you how long I was there.  I’m pretty sure it was less than a year.  Even though I lived with my little brother we didn’t bond through that time.  I know he had his own demons to battle, and my heart breaks for that wasted time that we could have possibly found a way to connect and be each other’s ally through it all.  However, that wasn’t the case and as soon as I was able to move out on my own I did just that.

 

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Fast forward 24 years.  Mid-winter break was coming up and my brother and his wife had moved to Mexico within the past year.  I had probably seen them twice since their wedding nine years ago and hadn’t seen him more than two or three other times in those 24 years.  We rarely talked and only sent the occasional message through facebook.  And that was it- life as siblings.  (again, a loss, as what the hell made me think that was okay???)  But for some reason, the idea to visit them with #4 came and when I asked them what they thought they seemed to be excited at the possibility.  So we booked tickets and planned to go.  I had no idea what to expect, but knew that this may be my one chance to connect with two people whom I love and who are my family.  But mostly I was just excited to see my little brother.

 

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Sissy and her dad (whom I have adored since he stitched up #2 at their rehearsal dinner 9 years ago) picked us up from the airport and I was so excited to see them after a long day of travel with three flights and time at four different airports.  My brother had dropped them off to meet us and then waited in the car (Mexican airport parking issues) until we were ready for him.  When I saw him- well, he seemed so grown up.  I know I had seen him a few years prior for a day but it really hit me when I saw him in Mexico.  My little brother wasn’t little.  And our life had passed us by- it hadn’t waited for things to be fixed, it just kept on moving along, me without a little brother.   It was the first time my heart felt a tiny bit shattered by it all.

 

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We arrived at their beautiful home, got the tour, met their incredibly well-trained dogs and then went for a little walk around the neighborhood.  Finn and I were enthralled from the very first moment.  The smell of the plumeria trees, the orange trees, the oranges!  There were cactus everywhere, the air was warm, and – for the first time since considering going on this trip – I felt like this may have been a very good idea indeed.  #4 was immediately smitten with my brother and from those first few minutes, the two of them were inseparable.  It was amazing to watch, a bit emotional and completely joyous for me to see two of my very favorite people on the planet bond like that.  I was grateful, and humbled that the man that I had loved when he was a child was now loving my child.

 

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The entire week was a whirlwind of amazing destinations, quiet walks on beaches or through beautiful old towns with whitewashed adobe homes.  It was incredible food, good wine (well, good wine one night- that second night, let’s just say someone “may” have purchased a bottle of wine not exactly meant for enjoying more than a very small glass, while someone else “may” have consumed most of the bottle herself) and deep, meaningful conversation.  That conversation is what meant the most to me on the trip, and is also what has left me in a state of just left of crazy since  I have returned home.  One thing I do need to share, however, is that my sister-in-law may be one of the MOST insightful, understanding, kind and empathetic people on the planet.  And I get to have her as a sister-in-law- although really, she is a sister that I have never had.  Through her we were able to talk about things that were tough, and ugly – things that I had forgotten for so many years.  You have to remember- my brother is the only person on the planet who really knows what my childhood was like.  He is the only one I can talk to who actually “gets it”  - who can relate, help me remember and understand my feelings.  While we dealt with growing up differently, I think that he understands why I coped the way I did- even if, as a child, he hated me for it.  He told me that, you know.  That he hated me for most of his life.  I cried.  I cried because I was a child and I didn’t do anything to him that would make him hate me, and yet he did, because of the situation.  And I don’t blame him- at all.  I hated me.  But we lost 40 years.  FORTY FUCKING YEARS.  And the worst part is that he is cool, and funny, and hella smart.  And did I mention funny?  And only NOW am I getting a chance to know that.  And I hate that.  And over the past four or five years I haven’t been much of a crier.  I haven’t had any reason for tears.  Sometimes I have to actually watch a sad movie if I know I need a good cry because I simply don’t have anything to cry about.  But now- NOW I cry often.  I get teary for all sorts of reason.  I get teary when I see Tia and Tio (auntie and uncle in spanish- what #4 calls them) on video chat working with #4 on his spanish.  I get teary knowing they are so far away and that I don’t even know when we will see them again.  I get teary writing this post.  I’m a damn faucet.  But it’s good, it’s healing happening, and even though I’m sad and so damn angry, I’m also hopeful.  And so damn grateful for that trip.  And for them.

 

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I guess the problem is, when I was young and my life consisted of my parents and my brother, that was all I knew.  But as a mother- a person blessed to raise and guide and influence and love and cherish these four incredible boys- I am horribly saddened by my childhood.  I simply hadn’t really thought about it before- which I know sounds ridiculous.  But I had buried it and moved on, and considered myself all the better for doing so.  But I wasn’t better- I was BURYING IT – and all that is is a festering wound that never heals and gets infected and one day that infection gets so bad that you have the choice of either treating it or letting it destroy you.

I’m starting therapy.  I need it- I probably always have.  I can’t do confrontation.  At all.  It terrifies me and makes me physically ill.  I can’t even talk to someone who works for us if there is an issue that needs resolution for fear of someone getting upset with me.  What the hell?  So yes, therapy seems like a good idea.  Because if you say something about me, endlessly, I won’t confront you- but talk smack about my kids and I will TAKE. YOU. DOWN.  I need to take you down in defense of me.  Because I’m worth it.  We all are.

 I’m sure there is so much more I wanted to tell you, but then again I really didn’t plan on telling you this much.  But it’s healing, and it’s a start.  And it’s time- I need to start.

Pretty pictures, no?  It was outstanding- gorgeous in a tropical non-tourist blue water white buildings palm trees and cactus and lots of sunshine sort of way.  And we loved it.  Every single minute.  (and the black dolphins!  how can I forget #4 being in the water a mere 30 feed from black dolphins playing in the surf???)

(and I wish I could show you a photo of #4′s face when he sees photos of his Tio- there is such joy and excitement there, even though he misses him mucho.  thank goodness for video chat…)

 

x

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{You} can make a difference

 

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Good morning friends!

 

I am so (sosososososo) excited to share an update with you on sweet Miracle- who truly is a miracle.  If you visit The Grow Hope Foundation’s website you will see what has become of this little angel~

 

x

 

 

Planning meals and gardens and sharing some {beautiful cards}

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Hello friends,

Today I would like to enlist your help as I am working on a few projects.  One involves food- planning healthy tasty meals for my boys.  I am doing a bit of an overhaul around here as we have removed wheat from one diet, excess wheat from the rest of us, and lowering our dairy intake.  Thus there are days when I feel as if I am in a bit of a meal-planning rut.  To that end, I would love for you to answer any or all of the following questions.  I think that many of you may also be interested and inspired by the answers (as it is no secret that I have amazing, creative, generous and inspiring readers!).

1.  What 12 items would you keep on hand at all times to help prepare  your favorite meals?  Some of my current staples are rice, good canned tomatoes, grated cheese, eggs, onions, potatoes and homemade stock (chicken and vegetable).

2.  What are your favorite bean or grain recipes?  (I have far too much quinoa , farro, and a gorgeous variety of beans in my pantry with absolutely no idea what to best do with them…)

3.  Do you pack your children’s lunch- or yours?  If so, what do you like to put in it so that it is interesting and appetizing?  Right now we do a lot of fruit leathers, cheese sticks, nacho chips, apple slices, mandarines, and dried fruit.

4.  If you live in France and continually post amazing photos of creative stews, soups and meals- would you please share your recipes?  Okay fine- that was specifically meant for a dear friend whom I bug daily to send inspiration.  However, if you enjoy hearty stews or slow-cook meals, what are your favorites?

 

honeycomb design_courtney khail for kim

 

5.  I am in the process of planning our gardens for the coming season.  Currently we are adding blueberry bushes (which will bring our count up to 7) and moving raspberries to a sunnier spot.  I plan to do a large teepee to grow beans up where #4 can play.  We have expanded our rhubarb as it is something I use a lot of.  We have espalier asian pears as well as some really old apple trees.  One of these days we will plant a proper orchard.  We always grow a lot of peas – shelling and sweet.  How do you trellis yours? We also grow a number of rows of carrots- do you have a favorite? Tomatoes can be tough because while I always get a lot, they often don’t ripen in time to beat the cold of autumn.  Any suggestions on types that ripen early that you like?  I am adding asparagus this year, and plan to grow them in a box with jerusalem artichokes.  Thoughts?

6.  We are also adding some baby chicks in about a month.  We have had such an awful run with the coyote as of late so I am planning ahead and getting a few more chicks than I normally will so that come Autumn I won’t have to go buy pullets for a ridiculous price.  We really love eggs around here and #s 2 & 3 have gotten pretty proficient at making themselves some pretty tasty egg dishes.  Do you have a recipe that you love- frittata?  baked eggs?  fabulous scrambles?

If you have any thoughts, answers to my questions or input, please leave it in the comment section for all to share.  I love the idea of sharing knowledge and feel a bit more like we are sitting around over coffee talking about our plans together~

 

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I also want to share a new project my friend Courtney has recently released.  Courtney is an incredible watercolor artist whose paintings are now available on cards!  Now this isn’t a new thing- Courtney has had cards for some time- but they used to be hand-painted.  The problem was people wouldn’t send them!  Seriously- they would hoard them as pieces of art.  So she decided it was time to make them less precious, in hopes that people would then send them out.  However, Courtney being Courtney, she had to make even having printing her cards difficult!  Because she wanted them to have a rich high-quality feel she found a process where the watercolors would be vibrant and the ink would be bold and raised.  Thus, each card is printed TWICE.  Trust me, these cards are wonderful.  If you are looking for some really special cards to send to those you love, these would be perfect.  You can read more about them from Courtney herself here.  But visit her shop – you will see for yourself~

 

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Finally, I wanted to make sure you have had a chance to visit my new site which will be where you find all the information and latest updates on my new non-profit, The Grow Hope Foundation, which I am SO EXCITED ABOUT!!  I hope you will visit, and, if you are so inclined there is a donation button at the bottom of the main page.  I am heading back to Uganda this summer and I hope to raise enough funds to bring as many supplies as possible when I go.  I would be so grateful if you were able to help in that goal~
Have a fabulous week friends,
x

 

 

a {Miracle} that I needed today

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These past few weeks have been a bit of a struggle for me.  I know this isn’t the first time I have said those words, and after spending quite a lot of time thinking about it, I have begun to realize that I put a lot of pressure on myself to “accomplish something”.  Sometimes it’s photography oriented- working on projects, writing, shooting, submitting them.  Sometimes it’s running this house- planning and preparing meals, making sure everything is done and on schedule, keeping up on laundry and cleaning and gardens.  Other times it’s planning projects for the home – new gardens, outbuildings to design, decks to build, painting to be done, animals to add to the menagerie.  But for so many years – nearly twenty as a matter of fact – the one thing that has been consistent, the one thing that has demanded the majority of my attention has been my greatest job to date- being a mom to these incredible four boys.  These crazy charismatic hilarious spunky challenging boys.  It is the one job that gives me the most joy and the one job that I can finally sit back after all these years and look at the partial results and admit that maybe, as a mom, I have done a pretty good job.  It has defined me.  It is who I am.  And with them growing up, with #4 needing me in that day-to-day nurturing snuggling maintenance sort of way so much less, I feel my grasp on my identity slipping away.  And some days it depresses the hell out of me.  It literally weighs me down in the center of my chest and leaves me with tears rolling down my face as I wonder who I am supposed to be and what I’m supposed to do now.  I feel rather lost at these times and while I am sure that I am not the first parent to feel this, right now this transitional time can be a struggle for me.  It is no secret to those that know me on a personal level that I would adopt a little girl IN A HEARTBEAT- even my boys know it.  However, one needs both parents to be “in” on such a huge life decision and while I struggle, my husband is embracing this new chapter that is opening up for us.  He loves his time in the studio, working on projects that bring him endless joy and that he is passionate about.  He finds that the less the boys need him on a moment by moment basis, the more he can find joy in things he loves.  And I totally get that.  I respect it, and know that while he is an incredible (amazing unbelievable fabulous) dad he deserves to live the life he dreams of.  And that life doesn’t include adding to our family.

 

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Wow- that is NOT where this post was meant to go.  However, it may explain where I have been- namely- not posting very often these days.  I have been busy trying to embrace life, as it is, right now, with my boys- all five of them.  I have been meeting #1 for coffee at the Whole Foods near his house (when he isn’t coming to dinner or hang out with us), loving watching #2 enjoy his last year of high school and all of the fun that involves, working with #3 on trying some new eating habits and hoping that they help him feel better, both physically and mentally.  And then there is #4, filled with such excitement and joy for life, learning and trying new things.  Last week he tried climbing at our local REI and absolutely LOVED it.  He’s so damn fun.

 

So, again, off track.  Let’s try this again…  This morning an email arrived from Dr. Isaac who is doing such amazing work in Uganda.  He and the volunteers have been working so hard to impact the lives of the community we are working in and I can’t express how grateful I am to them for keeping me so well informed and feeling a little bit closer to it all.

 

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A few months ago Dr. Isaac and the volunteers were out visiting homes when they came across a little girl named Miracle.  Miracle is 6 years old and when our team found her she had been kept indoors  for much of her life due to the stigma attached with her being born with disabilities.   Miracle was born with Spina Bifida, which she had had surgery for when she was younger.  She also has hydrocephalus which which is a buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling.  Due to these conditions, Miracle has not been able to go to school, interact with other children or experience any form of a normal childhood.  She doesn’t have the use of her legs, thus is unable to walk or move around much.

 

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The email that arrived this morning was filled with photos- photos that brought me such joy, such inspiration and such a sense of purpose.  They were photos of Dr. Isaac and Sharon delivering a wheelchair to Miracle.  The team has been working with her to create an environment in her home that enables her to begin to live as a normal 6 year old girl.  They built her a table that supports her so that she can practice writing with a pencil or eat her meals.  They built her a chair to use as a specialized latrine.  And today they delivered a wheelchair- one that they had built to allow Miracle to be moved easily in and out of her home as well as- hopefully, eventually- to school.  The joy- the pure and utter happiness that shines on this little girl’s face in that new chair- it is unmistakable.  The local children surrounded her and were so excited to take turns pushing her around and get to know her.  I can only imagine what this would feel like to a little girl who probably felt very alone for most of her life.  This is a little girl who, were she born here, would be fully integrated into society, and taking part in things that every other child does.  But with stigmas and lack of medical care and therapy, children like Miracle are often kept aside, hidden and forgotten about.  Thankfully our team met her and are now able to completely change the trajectory of her story.  She is one of the many people I can’t wait to meet when I return.  I look forward to the day I can hold Miracle on my lap and practice writing with her.  I am counting the weeks…

 

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Have a wonderful rest of your weekend friends,

x

You can find more about our project on my new Grow Hope Foundation website.  Stop by and say hello~

 

 

{2013} a year in photographs

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the {after Christmas almost to New Year’s} post

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Hello friends,

 

I hope you have had a marvelous holiday season.  We certainly have.  The past month seems to have flown by with preparations – shopping and wrapping and planning the meals we would enjoy.  In the middle of it all I flew off for four days in New York City where I spent time with a dear friend walking and shopping and eating. We were there to celebrate with Charity: Water- an organization that I didn’t know a lot about before I went. After my time spent at their headquarters learning about all of the incredible things they do, I am now a huge supporter.  What an amazing team!  Lead by Scott Harrison, Charity: Water is on a mission to get clean water to as many people as it possibly can.  We were at their annual Charity: Gala where they raised over 4 million dollars!  Do you have any idea how many people will benefit from the generosity of the people who donated?  It was an incredible night and honestly, I was a bit teary watching the enthusiasm and excitement that night.  If you haven’t seen all that they do, check them out.  They have a fabulous store where I just bought my first of many “water” t-shirts.  I wore it today and after all of the indulgence of the past few days of Christmas, it reminded me of where I want to go and what I want to do in the new year.

 

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Speaking of the new year, I have a few aspirations for 2014.  As I believe that putting things out there gives me the inspiration (read: pressure) to follow through, I thought I would share them here.

 

~I want to take more time for sit down lunches, inviting guests, drinking champagne, laughing and inspiring and building each other up 

~I want to purposefully move more, walk regularly, do a class here and there, try new things that make me nervous and will push me out of my comfort zone

~I want to continue to pare down possessions, find new homes for good things that are no longer needed here, use up and finish projects that have been sitting far too long

~I want to support local artisans, farmers and shops more than we currently do.  I want to alter our menu and lifestyle so that we can find  most of what we need at small businesses rather than big box stores

~I want to write more letters and send more parcels to those I love and am grateful for

~date day.  date night.  more of that.

 

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I am also in the process of getting The Grow Hope Foundation registered with the Federal government so that I will be able to provide tax receipts for those generous souls who donate to my project in Africa.  After I have that ability, I am going to set a great big fundraising goal- I’m thinking $50k.  Go big or go home, don’t you think?  In 2014 I want to be able to finish the chicken farm project, as well as complete our 50 home pilot project.  {a new post on the progress can be found here} I hope to travel to Uganda to photograph all of the progress our amazing team in Jinja has accomplished.  I want to capture the beautiful village members whose lives have been affected by this project.  Our hope is to show what can be done when a team of dedicated volunteers provide education and guidance to a willing receptive village.

The coming year is sure to bring travel, and adventure.  Laughter and tears- but surely more laughter.  The amazing thing about standing on the edge of a new year is the not knowing what it has in store.  Here’s hoping that 2014 is filled with inspiration, kindness, laughter, generosity and time with those we love.

x

 

{another year} goes by

 

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Tomorrow I will celebrate. Another year will have passed, filled with so many blessings, laughter, happiness, and love that I can barely comprehend it. Of course there have been sad moments, difficult times and challenges – but that is what helps us to grow, don’t you agree? Without those times, how would we appreciate the good ones? I am thankful for both, and the balance they bring.

This past year has given me much to think about. New paths were discovered and my focus was altered once again. I re-connected with my love of being home, creating a space that feels both nurturing and welcoming. I spent time in the gardens, working on long neglected projects as well as beginning new ones. I cooked more, baked more and relaxed more. And yet my passion for travel and humanitarian efforts grew tenfold. I made connections with people who share my love of women and children and community and education. I saw my own world in a new, more appreciative light. My heart grew.

Here on the farm I have enjoyed slowing down with my own five boys. While one is no longer living on the farm, he has returned from his year living out of the country and I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is to have him close by again. The ability to meet him for lunch or have him home for dinner is fantastic and yet I love that he has his own home to return to. It seems to be the perfect balance. His little brothers love having him close by and spending time with him- and he in turn (I’m fairly certain) loves being closer to his childhood home.

In the coming year, I hope to keep on keepin’ on. I want to continue to travel, to see new places and visit familiar ones. I want to spend time with friends who inspire me and give me wings. (I feel so incredibly blessed by the friends I have by the way- I must have done something incredible in a past life to end up surrounded by such greatness) I also want to (yet again) attempt to slow down a bit- don’t ask me how. I wish that I could just “be”- especially here at home. I want to get outside more, hike and explore with my boys, and notice more of what is right here in front of us.

I posted my “life list” nearly two years ago.  Thankfully I am still incredibly young as it is going rather slowly… That being said, it is good to go back to it from time to time and remember the things that I wanted to do back then.  Some things have changed – some I no longer am all that interested in.  Maybe I will replace a few things – change it up a bit.  Who knows.  Do you keep a list of things you dream of doing?

Have an amazing rest of your week~

x

 

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our favorite {potatoes}

potatoes

 

 

I wanted to share this simple yet delicious recipe as I have had a couple of requests for how to make our favorite potatoes.  If you are like us and try to eat seasonally, and you live in the northern hemisphere, potatoes are likely to be on your menu a lot in the coming months.  This is one of our favorite recipes for adding them to almost any meal.  You simply need enough potatoes to feed your crew – I often use red, yellow or a mix of the two sliced about 1/3″ thick, enough olive oil to toss said potatoes in, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper, as well as a bit of fresh rosemary.  The two tablespoons of butter are optional- but not in this house…

Preheat your cast iron pan (or any metal pan or cookie sheet) in a 350? F oven for about ten minutes.  Toss all of your ingredients together in a bowl and then pour them into your preheated pan.  Return the pan to the oven and cook until the potatoes begin to soften- usually about 20 minutes.  If you want to add a bit of butter like we do, take the pan out, give the potatoes a bit of a stir, add the butter and then stir again.  Return the pan to the oven for another 15-20 minutes.  You want your potatoes to be soft and nicely browned.  I tend to cook them in the top half of the oven but I cook with a gas oven so it may be different for an electric one.

When I take them out of the oven I use a finishing salt and just sprinkle a bit on top before serving.

 

Another couple amazing looking recipes~

These winter squash look amazing

How about roasting peaches?

This caramel apple dessert is another use for your cast iron pan.

And what about a roasted salad~

Bon appetite!

x

the gift of {giving}

donation bag

 

Hi friends,

Autumn has truly arrived here on the farm.  If there was any doubt, it was removed this past weekend when the winds whipped the leaves in a frenzy and the power was lost for about 24 hours.  As I have been on my own with the boys for the past 8 days we were left to get the generator running, light candles and make sure the fires were going.   This is indeed my favorite season as I am a nester by nature and love a good “batten down the hatches” day.  I feel incredibly blessed that when the weather turns our family has a place to go that is warm and dry.  I feel blessed that our pantry is never bare and we never go to bed hungry.  And while this is an issue for some year round it seems that with the colder weather it is brought to the forefront and seems more prevalent- more pressing come late autumn and winter.  Thus, after being inspired by another creative soul I spent today doing a bit of shopping.  I really (really really really) want to make this holiday season one of giving and selflessness- of kindness towards our fellow man and doing what we can to bring comfort and joy to those that need it.

We put together these little comfort bags- a small collection of things I imagine those without a home or a stable income could use.  We often come across people in our community in need and while it is easy to hand a dollar or two to a stranger, I felt that it was more important to take the time to put something together that would not only be useful but let them know that we had thought of them.  I intend to offer these bags without expectation and am prepared to be turned down.  However as I hope that for the most part they will be well-received and that if nothing else, they will bring a bit of joy to someone we don’t even know.

I really want our boys to become men of integrity as well as men who feel the pull to leave the world a better place because they were in it.

dream big.  do good.

x

{tiggy & grace} pop-up

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I am SO excited about opening the shop my friends!  It seems like it has been forever and I have been thinking about what I really wanted to share.  I have added some things that I hope you will love as much as I do.  There are some incredible drinkable vinegars which are absolutely perfect for the holidays- especially if you love the idea of enjoying cocktails with friends but don’t want the alcohol.  With a bit of ice and some carbonated bubbly water – plus your favorite Ludlow shrub- you have a gorgeous delicious cocktail!

 

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I have also added some fun colored canvas market bags- simple and sturdy and colorful for the darker days of winter.   They are spacious and perfect to bring shopping and make a wonderful gift that is earth friendly to boot!

 

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I was fortunate enough to be able to find (through a friend) my all-time favorite shears.  I keep mine in the kitchen and they come in handy for a multitude of tasks- most often cutting herbs and flowers from the gardens. They are pretty and sharp and a great tool to keep handy.

 

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While in France this summer I picked up some of these darling “homemade” canning jars- the sides say “fait maison” and while I brought home some for myself, I wanted to share some with you as well.  While you could definitely use them for canning, they are also a great size for storage in your pantry.

 

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I’ve also added tea towels!  Made from the same fabulous linen that my napkins are made out of, these tea towels are larger and so useful in the kitchen.  I use them to cover fresh bread before dinner or to line a bowl before putting rolls in it.  They are of course useful towels as well~  They measure 16″ by 24″ and are rough edged like the napkins.

 

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I’ve also added one of our current favorite teas – Harney & Son’s “Paris”.  #2 drinks it every evening and has grown into quite the tea man since Paris came into our lives.  I adore the tins as well as the beautiful tea bags as it makes brewing a cup of tea feel special~

 

The shop will open WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30TH and will remain open for three days.  As I so enjoyed the feel of the pop-up in the past, I wanted to return to that as we approach the holiday season.  Many of the things in the shop would make wonderful gifts for Christmas so come see what’s new and hopefully you will find something you love!

See you Wednesday!

http://tiggygrace.bigcartel.com

 

 

 

{autumn} has arrived

autumn drive

 

Autumn has arrived, and with it the incredible colors that she brings.  We have had a beautiful last week or so and I am enjoying every moment of it.  We wake to thick fog covering the farm making it difficult to see from one end to the other.  It often burns away during the day, leaving us with brisk sunshine- my very favorite weather.  I have noticed that it begins to move in again as the sun is setting – creating this misty dream-like haze over the gardens.

I am enjoying time in the kitchen when the weather is cold.  I love cooking things that take a long time and make the house smell delicious.  I always find myself nesting this time of year- thinking of the coming holidays, making mental meal plans and this year, opting for small and quiet rather than big and boisterous. As my husband says, it is early and things could change but, for now, I think I would prefer to keep it low-key and peaceful this season.

We have a number of things we have been working on lately which has kept me from doing much blogging. We recently purchased a little house in North Seattle that is in the process of being painted and getting ready to rent.  She is a sweet little 1947 bungalow and we call her Wedgewood House.  I can’t wait to share more when she is ready and if you know someone looking for a rental in the Seattle area, send them our way!

As soon as Wedgewood house is completed we will finally break ground and get our deck and doors off the kitchen underway.  I am SO excited about this project as it will be a space that I imagine I will use every day. With it being off the kitchen and partially covered it should be a place that we can use much of the year.  I know that come spring we will eat most of our meals there when the weather permits~

I am also excited to open the shop for a three day pop-up in the next two weeks.  It is long overdue but I am hoping you enjoy the new items and are able to find your old favorites as well!  Stay tuned as I will announce the dates here on the blog a few days before she goes live!

There is something about foraging that appeals to me on a deep level.

A sweet Autumn post with a recipe that looks delish!

This treat would be very popular at our house!

Homemade candybars?  What’s not to love?

a walk in the {woods}

nature walk montage

Because sometimes, when you should be doing homework and getting dinner ready, the sun shines and you need to go walking in the woods.

{hello} October

 

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In my mind October sounds like Autumn.  September still rings with the sound of warm afternoons, sunshine and those last few weeks of summer.  But October.  October tends to be associated with words like blustery and cozy and nesting and soup.  In October I tend to take stock of things- I make lists.  I clean out and tidy up.  I part with things no longer useful to us and stock up on things we may need for the coming months. Maybe it is a part of our nature, preparing for those long cold winter months where the weather isn’t welcoming and the idea of going out in it isn’t all that appealing.  There is something wonderful about sending people off to school or work for the day and then having the house to yourself, to put things in order, plan meals and feel productive.  Add to that a great playlist in the background, a few gorgeous candles burning and a fire going and you have what I would consider the perfect Autumn day~

I made THIS delicious soup last week.

I love a SIMPLE LOAF filled with spices.

I will be making THIS chai today- as chai is one of my favorites.

Have a wonderful October mes amies!

x

 

the {patio} project

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{found} 

Hello friends and happy {rainy} Saturday!

We are in the process of beginning a project here on the farm that I have been dreaming of for the past five or six years.  It has been something that I have wanted to do but other things seem to keep coming up instead. However, we are now past the planning stage and beginning the actual installation of a gorgeous set of French doors off the kitchen that will lead to a partially covered two-level deck and patio.  As I LOVE being outdoors as much as possible whenever the weather allows, this addition to the farm will enable us to dine outdoors much easier.  And I can’t tell you how excited I am to begin mornings sitting outdoors enjoying my coffee, tucked under a blanket in the cooler weather, my feet in the sun when it shines.

deck wall

 

Some of you may remember this photo of the south side of our home- a wall that is high and flat and has no interest.  It is the perfect spot to add an outdoor living space being just off the kitchen, with southern exposure and yet shady in the summer when it warms up.

 

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{found}

Our home has flat roofs but I wanted to add a slight pitch to the covered patio for interest and drainage.  I have always loved metal roofs- our barn has one section of them- and so I was excited to add a bit to our home.  This is what we hope to use.

 

 

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{found}

We have opted to use a decking material that will be easier to maintain.  We are going with a light gray which should look nice with the white accents.

 

 

lights

 {found}

 I am considering using these sweet rustic lights instead of a larger light feature in the covered area.  I haven’t decided yet but as we would rarely use proper light in this area (opting for candles and light from the fireplace instead) I am thinking I may prefer the ambiance of these lights.

 

 

fireplace

{found}

Finally, in phase two we will be adding a patio adjacent to the deck with a fireplace.  I like the height of this one as well as these paving stones.

 

 

I’m so excited to have a project like this to focus on as the dark wet months approach.  Come springtime it should be ready to enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

{Going forward with a new heart} & I hope you will come along

 

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I realize that this post is long overdue.  I still can’t believe it has been over a month since I returned from my trip.  I have wanted to share every incredible detail with you since I returned, but I have been having a difficult time trying to sort out all of my thoughts and memories from that life-changing time in Africa. I will tell you that it was so much more than I expected, I fell in love with the people and the place and I am already counting the days until I can return.  There seems to be so many “parts” of the trip- but one part has occupied much of my thoughts and time since I returned, and that is what I most want to share with you today.

 

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{a classroom- which is filled with children wanting to learn}

 

Education.  While we aren’t a family who pushes our children towards schooling we do encourage a love of learning.  We do a lot of research around here, as well as reading and asking questions about things that intrigue us.  For us, learning opens up a whole new world, it expands the possibilities and improves conditions.  There are so many ways to change the world, but for me education is the start of it all.

 

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{Dr. Isaac- the man behind the mission and someone I am so very grateful to have met}

 

While I was in Africa last month I met some amazing people with big dreams.  I also learned a lot about the plight of those in the outlying rural areas of southern Uganda.  When I have the opportunity to immerse myself into a culture that is drastically different than my own, I tend to absorb as much knowledge as I can and my brain immediately goes into problem solving mode.  I ask questions- a LOT of questions, and gather information on existing conditions as well as potential solutions.  I visit with people, find someone to translate if possible and really try to “hear” what it is the people in these difficult situations feel and think.  I put myself in their place and imagine how I would feel and what I would want to change.  I respect that different cultures may cope with things differently than mine, and so I don’t judge.  I hug as many children and women as I can and I smile as much as possible.  However it is always difficult to see suffering.

 

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{it’s a bit blurry but I absolutely treasure this photo}

This was especially true in a children’s hospital that I visited.  To see those mamas holding their beautiful children, so very sick and weak- it was a place I couldn’t even imagine having to be.  Their strength and love of their babies carried them through while they sat sharing a bed with another mama and her babe, sometimes for days on end.  It captured my heart. Their resilience as they watched children around them get better, or get worse must be heart wrenching.  But they were bound together, by love of their child, in a place where help wasn’t always available and the future was unknown.

 

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So I asked questions.  A lot of questions to my host, whom I have grown so fond of and gained so much respect for.  Why are they here?  What is the leading cause of illness?  What can be done?  How many are lost.  That one nearly sent me to the floor, my knees locked so not as to buckle at the thought.  When you read the numbers, hear the stories, it is easy enough to separate one’s self from it.  Especially when you are 7000 miles away from it all.  However, when you are standing there, in a ward with 20 beds filled with mamas and babies, two nurses and not enough plasma or medication for anyone, trust me- it does more than touch you.  It changes you.

 

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I also visited “the slum”- from here on out referred to as “the challenged community”.  I had heard so much, about danger and disease and sadness.  Driving up my stomach was in knots, so nervous at what I would find.  But I learned something that day.  Perception is an incredible thing.  Where one person sees danger and despair, another sees hope and joy and potential.  I was that person.  Yes, I saw dire living conditions, lack of food and garbage everywhere.  I saw bloated bellies from lack of nutrition, signs of AIDS on little heads and tattered clothing.  I also saw smiles- smiles that would light up the night sky.  I saw mamas carrying their wee ones on their back while washing or cleaning or cooking.  I saw children asking, no – begging.  But while one would think that they would be begging for food, or money or even something to play with, one would be wrong.  What they all asked for were school fees.  $20 a term.  $60 a year.  to. go. to. school.  And I remembered all the days my boys complained about going to school, and I thought, if only they knew…

 

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Home again, having had time to process it all and gather my thoughts, talking to some amazing people on the ground in Uganda and coming up with a plan.  I finally feel like I can do something.  For those of you who know me, you know how passionate I get about things that I truly believe in.  I truly believe in this.  I believe that education is the fundamental requirement for change.  I think that by educating people we can help them improve their situation.  I think that giving people things solves something in the same way a bandaid helps a cut.  However, I want to avoid the cut in the first place.

 

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{happy children living in truly challenging conditions}

 

My plan is twofold.  The first part is educating children.  I think that learning to read and write and do math is a step towards making a better life for themselves.  Educating children will empower them to in turn create a better, more productive society in their little village and beyond. It will provide confidence and allow them to dream.  And dreams are important and something that too few of the children I met have.

The second part of the equation is educating people- most likely the majority being women- on the importance of sanitation.  Do you know that most of the ailments that the children I saw in that children’s hospital were due to diarrhea, which most commonly occurs by the spread of disease that originates in human and animal fecal matter?  Do you know that much of the transmission of such things is due to lack of clean water, both for drinking and for washing?  And would you believe that many of the children in that hospital will be helped, only to return to the same conditions that they had been exposed to, and will end up back at the hospital again in the future?  It is a vicious cycle that really seems so solvable in my mind.  It is all about EDUCATION- educating people about how to keep things sanitary.  The importance of latrines and keeping fecal matter away from human access.  The importance of clean water and clean bodies.  The importance of proper nutrition on developing bodies and pregnant mamas.  And while this all seems like common sense to those of us living in modern civilization, for people living in remote areas with little education it is something that needs to be learned.  And I don’t mean just telling them what needs to be done.  I mean a team, working together, comprised of a doctor, educated volunteers and village elders, all of whom believe in the value of making these changes for the betterment of the village.  

 

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 {changing conditions such as these will make a vast difference in the health of the people in these communities}

And so we are doing a pilot project.  Dr. Isaac and Sharon, Godfrey and a number of other volunteers, whom I will introduce you to soon.  50 homes.  50 families.  Each hand picked based on need, willingness to change and conditions.  Each home will be thoroughly documented, from physical conditions and current nutritional intake to the health issues of the residents.  Photos will be taken, a map of the villages and the homes taking part will be created.  The team will then work together to educate the residents and help them make the changes necessary to improve their conditions, but also be available to assist in implementation of the changes.  People will be encouraged to work together to clean and build and support one another.  There will be ongoing support, a doctor will oversee the physical wellbeing of the residents in order to assess what conditions are contributing to any medical conditions.  Nutrition will be taught with a focus on the importance of proper nutrition for children and pregnant mothers. And hopefully, if all goes as we are praying it will, when this test group is finished, ailments will be down, sanitation will be improved and the people that have taken part will go forward living a healthier life.

 

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The emphasis of this program will be empowerment of these communities, giving them self-sufficiency by introducing healthy practices that will then give them the opportunity to look beyond just sustaining life, but actually building a life that offers more than simply surviving.

The work that has already been done is amazing.  The team has been out conducting community meetings and the response has been incredible.  People gather to listen to Dr. Isaac share the importance of hygiene and nutrition.  They discuss things as a group and make plans.  I loved what Dr. Isaac sent me in an email after the first meeting~  “They gave us seats but we didn’t take them up. We sat with them down because we didn’t want to look so special. We sat down In grasses like they did.”  He sends updates nearly every day with what has been done, how people have reacted, and the teams surprise at the unexpected moments that arise when meeting with families.  Below are a few bits and pieces of what has transpired since the beginning just a few short weeks ago~

“we have been in the community today and we had a meeting with our first group. it was so nice and they are really very interested in our program. we shared a lot and agreed that we shall be having two general meetings in every month and then for the rest of the days, we shall be doing family support activities. we shall be doing home visits and guiding families at family level and when we have the general meetings, we share the experience and also discuss new topics to put in practice. Kim, this was very nice and the community was so warm. on the spot, we noted that jiggers and bed bugs are a very big problem in this group. we have offered to help them have insecticides to spray and then we shall go on addressing the other issues.”

“the youngest girl prisca was so irritable with un-consolable crying, just looking at her feet, they were swollen. I examined her and i noted that clinically she had protein energy malnutrition(PEM) I realized she never gets any balanced diet with enough proteins, she has never had a chance to take milk  apart from breast milk which she no longer gets.she has never had an egg. we therefore gave some little money so that they can buy her some milk and eggs so that she can recover from this condition.”

(which led us to our newest project which I will share soon!)

 

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So, for now, I will be in fundraising mode.  I plan to re-open the shop with more inventory soon and ALL PROFITS will go directly to this program.  I will be looking for other ideas and am always open to suggestions.  You will find a lot more photos that are updated regularly on our FACEBOOK PAGE. Please head over and “like” us to be a part of it all.   I plan to go back in 2014 to take part in the meetings as well as capture it all on film.  By then the pilot program should be making a drastic impact on the communities it is a part of.  I can’t wait to see it for myself.  I hope you will join me on this amazing journey- it promises to change lives- and the future of the people involved.  You and I will be changed as well~

x

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 {a simple place of worship and one of the most peaceful places I have ever been}

 

 

 

Wishing you a {happy} weekend

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The weekend has arrived- the first since the boys went back to school this week.  I’m pretty sure I am more tired than they are, but why that is I don’t have a clue.  So far everyone is doing well, adjusting back into the routine known as “our lives” and coming home happy.  It feels good.  We are looking forward to a quiet few days around here- not a lot to do and the weather that invites relaxation, movies and warm food. Mr. Taylor and I will be celebrating our anniversary this weekend- most likely just hanging out together, seeing as we really do like each other quite a lot.  He makes me laugh, and he’s smart and such a great husband and father.

I hope that whatever you are planning this weekend, whatever your weather may be like, whether summer has decided to stick around for a while, autumn is attempting to push it’s way in or spring has sprung- that your weekend is wonderful.

x

A {Winner}

 

 

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Hello friends~

 

I apologize for not getting this posted yesterday!  #4 helped me by picking a number and I am excited to announce that Shari of Abundant Picnic is the winner of the Creatively Made Home {Home for the Holidays} course!  Shari- please email me at kimberlytaylorimages@gmail.com with your email information and I will pass it along to Jeanne.  I know you are going to love it!  For those of you who didn’t win, you can still join in on the inspiration.  Simply hit the “Buy Now” button on the bottom of THIS post to make sure you don’t miss this fabulous opportunity!

Happy Tuesday~

 

 

A {Poppy} exchange

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Hello friends and happy Saturday~

 

As some of you know, I love poppies.  I tend to snap photos of different varieties of them when I am out and about.  I have grown them in our gardens for a number of years now, and am not even sure where my first seeds came from.  Over time they have begun to cross and combine and I  now have a nice little collection of pink/lavender/fuscia singles and doubles that I harvest every year.

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When I was in France visiting a dear friend this month we came across one perfect little poppy growing along her pasture fence- a new addition for them.  It was similar to mine, and yet a different color all together.  I was excited and asked if she would exchange seeds when she had enough to share.  I would love to send her some of mine and add her little Normandy poppy to my collection!

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{I added these little gems this summer}

This morning while making coffee and emptying my dry poppy pods it occurred to me.  I have occasionally sent out seeds to friends who have been kind enough to share photos of them growing in their gardens (my friend Alexis had hers grow to nearly 7 feet in San Diego!!).  But how great would it be to do a poppy seed exchange?  I would be happy to send a little package of my seeds in exchange for any poppy seeds you have harvested.  You can see the variety I have in my gardens here, and if you grow them and harvest your seeds it would be wonderful to exchange a few.  What do you think?

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Have a wonderful weekend and for those of us who haven’t yet started school, enjoy these last few days~

x

 

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